News archive 2002
New Sackler Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences13 Feb 2002, PR 06/02
A new Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences is being established at King’s College London thanks to a generous endowment from the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation and the Sackler Family.
The creation of the Sackler Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences will allow for greater collaboration between research teams across King’s College that are interested in the discovery, formulation, preclinical and clinical development of drugs and their mechanism of action. It will initially focus on the development of a multi-disciplinary approach to exploiting the rapidly developing areas of gene-based medicines and pharmacogenetics. The endowment will also provide scholarships to support post-doctoral fellows and PhD students.
Professor Andrew Baird, who is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of tissue repair and regeneration, has been appointed as Director of the new Institute and as Chair of Physiology.
Professor Baird joins King’s from the United States where he was Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Selective Genetics Inc, a biotechnology company located in San Diego, California. Professor Baird received his training in biochemistry at McGill University, Canada and has spent the last 20 years in research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at La Jolla, California and later the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.
He is best recognised for his contributions to the fields of growth factors, angiogenesis, and tissue repair and regeneration, and has spent the last five years focussing on the development of gene-based medicines to exploit progress in human genomics. He has published over 200 scientific papers and serves as Editor for Growth Factors, the Journal of Endocrinology and Current Opinion in Pharmacology.
Since his arrival at King’s, Professor Baird has been awarded one of eleven HEFCE awards to promote university interactions with business and will help King’s staff develop new strategies to fund and commercialise their research.
Professor Simon Howell, Head of the Guy’s, King's & St Thomas' School of Biomedical Sciences at King's, said of the Sackler Foundation endowment:
"We are very grateful to the Sacklers for their continued support of the College's work. This gift particularly will enable King's to build upon its excellence in the area of pharmaceutical sciences. Our vision of bringing together all aspects of this area from the basic sciences through to the clinical work reflects well the College's multi-disciplinary approach.
Attracting a scientist such as Professor Andrew Baird, with his extensive experience and international reputation, is a major coup for this new Institute and for King’s as a whole.”
A Scientific Advisory Board of international stature has been established for the Institute that includes Professor Sir James Black OM FRS, Nobel Laureate and Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology at King’s; Sir David Jack CBE FRS, former Research & Development Director at Glaxo Holdings; Dr Trevor Jones, Director General of The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry; and Professor Leslie Iversen FRS, Director of the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases at King’s.
The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation has a history of supporting King’s. As a result of a donation in 1993, the Sackler Institute of Pulmonary Pharmacology, led by Professor Clive Page and Dr John Costello, was established to better understand the pathogenesis and treatment of lung disease
Notes to editors
King's College London
King’s College London is one of the two oldest and largest colleges of the University of London with some 12,400 undergraduate students and over 4,700 postgraduates in ten schools of study. The College had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level. It is in the top group of five universities for research earnings and has an annual turnover of over £300 million and research income from grants and contracts in excess of £87 million (2000-2001).
Pharmaceutical sciences is one of the great academic strengths of King's. The Nobel Laureate Professor Sir James Black OM FRS, who discovered the first beta-blocker drug which led to new treatments for some types of heart disease and high blood pressure, and H2 receptor antagonists for the treatment of stomach ulcers, is Emeritus Professor of Analytical Pharmacology at King's. The Institute of Scientific Information provided external endorsement of the College's excellence in a survey of citations, placing King's pharmacology first ahead of all other UK universities.
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